Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (4th L) attends the 16th meeting of the Council of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Heads of Government (Prime Ministers) in Sochi, Russia, Dec. 1, 2017. (Xinhua/Ju Peng)
MOSCOW, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) -- Building a free trade area among members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is possible in principles, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Friday.
"In principle, I do not rule out the possibility of reaching such agreements in the SCO framework someday. But this is a higher level of integration and trust that should be achieved through negotiations between all SCO members," Medvedev was quoted as saying by Russian media following a meeting of the Council of SCO Heads of Government.
While calling the idea "interesting and promising", Medvedev said it is necessary to first reach consensus within the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) as some EAEU members are not SCO members, which would take much effort due to a string of procedures.
Currently, negotiations are being held on establishing a free trade zone between the EAEU and China, and it can be a model to start with, he said.
The Russia-led EAEU, which groups Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia, is an economic bloc aiming to optimize the flow of goods and services among its members.
The SCO has China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India and Pakistan as its full members, joined by four observer states and six dialogue partners.